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noun, plural shan·ties.
  1. a crudely built hut, cabin, or house.
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  1. of, relating to, or constituting a shanty or shanties: a shanty quarter outside the town walls.
  2. of a low economic or social class, especially when living in a shanty: shanty people.
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verb (used without object), shan·tied, shan·ty·ing.
  1. to inhabit a shanty.
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Origin of shanty1

1810–20; probably < Canadian French chantier lumber camp, hut; French: yard, depot, gantry, stand for barrels < Latin cant(h)ērius rafter, prop, literally, horse in poor condition, nag < Greek kanthḗlios pack ass
Related formsshan·ty·like, adjective


noun, plural shan·ties.
  1. chantey.
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or chant·y, shan·tey, shan·ty

[shan-tee, chan-]
noun, plural chant·eys.
  1. a sailors' song, especially one sung in rhythm to work.
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Origin of chantey

1855–60; alteration of French chanter to sing; see chant
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for shanty

Historical Examples

  • And then followed visions of the increased comfort to come to the shanty.

    The Widow O'Callaghan's Boys

    Gulielma Zollinger

  • Would anybody have belaved it when we come with nothin' to the shanty?

  • And now to revert more particularly to our home life in the shanty.

  • Finally, it was discovered that the shanty was far too small a place for our banquet.

  • I brought out my relic of other days, and displayed it to the boys in the shanty.

British Dictionary definitions for shanty


noun plural -ties
  1. a ramshackle hut; crude dwelling
  2. Australian and NZ a public house, esp an unlicensed one
  3. (formerly, in Canada)
    1. a log bunkhouse at a lumber camp
    2. the camp itself
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Word Origin

C19: from Canadian French chantier cabin built in a lumber camp, from Old French gantier gantry


shantey US chanty or chantey (ˈʃæntɪ, ˈtʃæn-)

noun plural -ties or -teys
  1. a song originally sung by sailors, esp a rhythmic one forming an accompaniment to work
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Word Origin

C19: from French chanter to sing; see chant


noun plural -teys
  1. the usual US spelling of shanty 2
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for shanty


"rough cabin," 1820, from Canadian French chantier "lumberjack's headquarters," in French, "timberyard, dock," from Old French chantier "gantry," from Latin cantherius "rafter, frame" (see gantry). Shanty Irish in reference to the Irish underclass in the U.S., is from 1928 (title of a book by Jim Tully).

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"sea song," 1867, alternative spelling of chanty (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper